Pristina as a divided city
Denis Ermolin (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS)
Paper short abstract:
The paper negotiates the transformations in urban space of Pristina (Kosovo) in 1951-1971 and their ensuing aftermaths. The analysis shows how changes in cultural landscape contribute to creating and maintaining ideological discourses in different periods of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Paper long abstract:
The paper is aimed at negotiating the transformations in urban space of Pristina (Kosovo) in 1951-1971 and their ensuing aftermaths. The main analysis is devoted to the changes in cultural landscape and their role in creating and maintaining ideological discourses in different periods of the 20th and 21st centuries. As a hypothesis I propose the idea that the large-scaled reorganization of the urban public space that took place in 1951-1971 resulted in cultural division of the city (opposition between Western and developed southern & central districts vs. Oriental and later on ruralized northern area of the city). Public and private spaces in the southern and central districts of Pristina were fully included in the process of Socialist urbanization where the main Yugoslav slogan "Brotherhood and Unity" was successively realized by means of architecture and urban planning. The newly built theater, library, university, stadium, sports-hall, schools, hospitals, department stores, etc. could be regarded as instruments of social control that functioned as synchronizers of public activity. At the same time, in the northern part of the city, which remained in many ways Oriental, such large-scale urban projects were never realized. Moreover, I claim that Pristina's divided nature has added to the ethnic tensions between Serbs and Albanians that led to the mass protest actions and war in Kosovo, as the northern districts were initially used as a reliable platform for parallel structures of education and health-care after 1990.
Ethnographies of urban public spaces